Apr 28, 2005

more househunting blues...

Last night I had a family dinner in South Philly where I met my cousin's new baby Lucy. She is so adorable. And Yum! I am going to be 50 pounds heavier after this week! I have been running around and eating so much!!!

So I think the thing that got me after looking at places in West Philly yesterday was a mixture of the disapointment over the one house I had thought I would really like on
Osage Avenue and being so tired from thinking about it all. And then I clocked it from the house on 45th to the South Street Bridge and it was longer than I had thought, so then I started doubting everything. I still like and consider the university mews place my top choice. I just need to satisfy my "what-ifs" (Actually more Mike's what ifs) about Bella Vista and Graduate Hospital I guess, before I am ready to commit myself.

So then today I went to look at a bunch of things -but today was kind of disappointing again. Here is the summary that I sent to Mike. Two places, the one at 2322 Bainbridge, and the one across the street from David and Robin’s house (13th Street) were the only two contenders...

  • 2322 Bainbridge (I think that’s the address) is small, and feels small. The bedrooms upstairs are teeny, and there looks to be some deferred maintenance.Its overpriced in my opinion but it is on a nice block which I am sure will become much nicer over time. Would I feel comfortable living there, yes I think so. But I don’t know how much walking I would do by myself into town at night. There is a deck but it is in rickety shape, and there are tons of cracks in the ceiling everywhere. For a place to grow into, its not. We’d fit in now, and be cramped later. The neighborhood right there is okay, but it is clearly block-by-block right now and there is hardly anything right there in terms of cleaners, cafes,etc…you would have to walk into the south street and Rittenhouse area for that stuff.
  • S. 13th street was HUGE in comparison to the one on Bainbridge. This is right at 13th & Reed. The old mafia club (Club noche) at the corner is apparently being taken down and that site is being turned into houses that are listed at 699,000. there are coffee shops and new restaurants and its close to Passyunk. Its three large floors and the basement. Modest sized cement patio in the back. These people had 5 kids, so its like as big as Mike's mom and dad’s house. The block is everything we would ever want. There are cafes, a ball park, trees, it’s a really really good block. The house itself is South Philly/ South Jersey. Wallpaper everywhere. Hollow core doors. But nothing gross, it has all been meticulously cared for. The kitchen is amazing, really nice, really open on the first floor, all new stainless steel appliances, wood floors. Its big big big. The place is carpeted for the most part with this horrible teal green (teal) colored carpet, which is new but there are wood floors underneath, although I don’t know what kind of shape they are in. The guy showed us around, he has obviously been vigilant and taken really good care of the place. It would be a house for us to live in and fix up for the next 20 years. We would love that neighborhood, because it feels like where we grew up. The downsides: Wallpaper, distance from CC, the enormous size. This would be a fixer upper for us, because just getting the wallpaper off the walls would be a huge job, then you would want to remove paneling, rip out carpets, refinish floors. The carpets would have to go right away. Another downside, there are two bathrooms, both next to eachother on the same floor (2nd floor), which is kind of weird. The third floor could be made into a mother-in-law apartment or something. There are water and gas lines that run up there so you could put in a bathroom up there eventually. The whole third floor is paneling – the guy said, we hate this paneling, but we started at the ground floor, and we never got up this high.” There’s a roof deck potential, which would have an amazing view – you could put in a door in at the window at the bottom of floor 3 stairs up and walk out to the top of the 2nd floor roof. It would be an amazing skyline. Greg thinks we should offer less than asking price if we want it b/c the 3rd floor isn’t finished. The current asking price is 329,000. This is a block that people at the hair solon were oohing over the location and saying, “everyone from society hill is moving down there, it’s a GREAT block”. In my opinion its like being in brooklyn in terms of distance. I would probably never walk to center city, but I would never have trouble getting a cab there either. I have no doubt that it would be a very good long term investment. I just don’t know if I want that large a house, that large a project.

Everything else was gross. So at the moment, I am feeling like we could do any of the following or nothing, and I would be fine with it:

  • Make an offer on the higher priced Osage house #4425 (like offer 365,000 and see if they will bite at all) since it is the nicest one of all of them and I think the resale could be better.
  • Make an offer on the #1 University Mews property that has the better kitchen (offer 329,500 or full price)
  • Make an offer on #24 University Mews (maybe offer 319,000 since we would have to redo kitchen, bathroom and some flooring and because it is only 2 bedrooms instead of 3), but has a nicer backyard, more private space…
  • Make an offer on the 13th street house and then pay someone to rip out the carpets and take off all the wallpaper before we move in.

Overall I feel like the 4425 house on Osage (the one that was just reduced to 395,000) and the house on 13th street are the same distance, and would both be the best investments for the long run.

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